That's where I was a few months ago. For the previous two years I had been having this awesome intimate time in prayer then all of a sudden the "well" seemed to go dry. No matter what I did, I just no longer felt the same connection to God that I had in the previous season. Being the "good" spiritual director that I am ( insert laughter), I brought it up with my own spiritual director. She just listened, lovingly and patiently, as I rambled on and on about the lack of intimacy that I was having during my prayer times, and how I missed the" good ole days ' of my prayer life.
This went on for months, at the encouragement of my director, I just kept showing up for prayer, even though nothing was really happening. During that time I would be distracted by emails, phone calls, the dog- you name it. My prayer time had dwindled down from over an hour daily to barely fifteen minutes a day. I would often feel guilty about it until I talked to my director the following month -as she continued to encourage me to give myself more grace and to experiment with other forms of prayer, like prayer walking, body prayer and art prayer. Those things did help a bit because I love learning new things, but sadly it was not taking me to the depths that I had grown accustomed to.
Despite my dryness in prayer, I knew better than to quit praying which is what I think a lot of people do. Thanks to my training as a spiritual director I was able to apply one of the rules of discernment from the 16th century monk St. Ignatius of Loyola which is to " Nourish the attitude of patience to mitigate frustration, dryness, or emptiness of the desolation period. Remember that God has given consolation and will do so again in God's own time." Let me repeat that "God's own time". He's the one in charge of our prayer , not me and not you. He was the one that gave me the graces that were needed to sustain me through this period, and He will do that for you. Another important rule of discernment I relied on during this time was to consider it as trial period by God to discover whether we love God, or the gifts of God; whether we continue to follow God's leading in darkness and dryness as well as light and consolation.
Well I am happy to say I have come out of that dry period after many months, and what I discovered was that God was trying to show up for me in a different way and my old way of praying was not conducive to this new image He wanted to bring me. When I shared this with my spiritual director, she just smiled and said " I knew you would get there" knowing all along that is was just the next step in me becoming the "glorious bride" of Christ.
I realize sometimes it can be embarrassing to admit to yourself or anyone else that you are having a dry season in prayer, especially if you are a leader or a Pastor. Having someone that is trained and trustworthy that can help you navigate through this season is invaluable, both for yourself and for the people you lead.
Speaking now as a spiritual director, if you are having a dry spell in prayer where it just seems boring and tedious- give yourself grace and keep at it, perhaps change your routine a bit, but whatever you do don't stop praying. Whether you are a lay person, leader or Pastor we will all go through this at one time or another as part of our journey of increasing intimacy with the Lord.
I would love to hear some stories of seasons of "dryness" you may have had and how it turned around for you- please comment below
Prayers and Blessings